Gravitas Ventures will release Daniel Schechter’s smart comedy/drama After Class (formerly Safe Spaces) in theaters and on VOD beginning December 6, 2019. The film stars Justin Long, Fran Drescher, Richard Schiff and Kate Berlant.
The film is a compelling study of a well-intentioned millennial-aged teacher overstepping the line in class in the MeToo era, and dealing with the repercussions. This comes in the middle of a family emergency when his grandmother requires hospice care, and family chaos begins to consume his life. The film provides raw moments of emotional turmoil that switches between loss, comedy and drama, providing glimpses of beautiful and awkward moments that happen in life.
After Class follows a New York City professor (Long) as he spends a week reconnecting with his family while defending his reputation over controversial behavior at his college.
Director Daniel Schechter has been writing and directing his own films for over 15 years. His last project, LIFE OF CRIME (based on a novel by Elmore Leonard and starring Jennifer Aniston) closed the Toronto International Film Festival. Before that, Schechter won many awards for his lower-budget feature films SUPPORTING CHARACTERS (starring Alex Karpovsky and Lena Dunham) and GOODBYE BABY (starring Christine Evangelista and Fred Armisen). He lives and works in New York City.
10 Things to know about After Class
- Fran Drescher was the first choice to play the role of Diane, and was recommended by Kim Schechter, the director’s mother (on whom the role was based).
- The film was shot at The New School, where Schechter actually taught. Dozens of his students also worked on the film behind the scenes and as extras. Nic Inglese, who plays cousin Alan, was a former student of Schechter’s.
- Josh’s nieces in the film, Evie and Annabeth, are played by Schechter’s real-life nieces (Kaitlyn and Emily Schechter.)
- The film was shot almost entirely in and around Schechter’s apartment, in the Gramercy neighborhood in Manhattan.
- The role of Jackie Cohn (Josh’s sister, played by Kate Berlant) is one of the few entirely invented family members, not based on an actual person. The character is an amalgam of important women in Schechter’s life.
- The film is dedicated to all four of Schechter’s grandparents.
- Three songs were provided for the film by actress Charlyne Yi (Knocked Up, Paper Hearts).
- Though much of the film is a negative reaction to spending too much time on Twitter, the positive genesis of the film came from reading a tweet by @mysterybrowndir that read, “When you have zero ideas just write about someone you love. Change the name.” So Schechter decided to write about his grandmother, Margaret Rossini, who had recently passed away. The film ended up being a love letter to his whole family.
- Though the film doesn’t explicitly state it, the film is set in 2016; pre-#MeToo and before the election of Trump.
- After Class was shot in just 16 days in 2018.